The Japanese government has passed legislation to legalise gambling creating opportunities for integrated resorts development which could be worth up to $40bn pa in revenues.

The news has been welcomed by MGM Resorts International who have issued a statement saying that the IR Promotion bill “opens the possibility of large-scale, integrated resort development in Japan.”

They added that, “After years of study in the region, we believe the opportunity exists to drive significant growth in sustainable travel and tourism — particularly from international segments — along with the creation of thousands of jobs and long-term economic benefit.

“With an established, full-time development team in Tokyo pursuing discussions in Japan’s cultural and business communities, MGM Resorts is well-prepared to pursue future expansion efforts.

“Today’s announcement allows us to advance our relationships with key stakeholders and together create a coalition of Japanese business partners who will collectively define a vision for a uniquely Japanese, world-class integrated resort.”

There was little pubic appetite for the Bill in Japan – just 12% support according to a recent poll by Japan’s state broadcaster, NHK, and 44% against reports Totally Gaming.  However, the benefit to the country from building several integrated resorts around the country could run to $40bn in annual revenues and encourage tourism, particularly from China, after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Although MG Resorts appear poised for action, in reality Japan’s first casino is unlikely to be open before 2022.

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